Harnessing Recorded Video Technology to Improve Family Wellbeing in the NICU

15 May 2024

Harnessing Recorded Video Technology to Improve Family Wellbeing in the NICU

With 1 in 13 babies born prematurely, many families find themselves spending time in the NICU. This is often an extremely stressful time for parents, and particularly so when they are unable to be physically present at the unit, causing many parents to suffer from separation anxiety. This in turn can create challenges with bonding and remote milk expression, as well as causing significant worry and upset to the families involved.

As a secure, recorded video messaging service, vCreate NICU Diaries specifically supports Family Integrated (FI) Care by allowing clinicians to capture and share carefully selected visual updates of special milestones and moments that may otherwise have been missed. This enables families to feel more connected with their babies during this time of high stress, whilst additionally allowing them to involve siblings, grandparents and extended family members with updates.

In 2023, Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada, carried out a study to evaluate the parent and staff experience of using recorded video software in the NICU. They found that the service supports parent-infant bonding, with families reporting increased attachment to their infants and feeling happier and closer to them due to the video-messaging service. One parent shared: “vCreate was amazing and helped me see the great care and bonds my twins were receiving and benefiting from when I couldn’t be there.” 

They also found that the use of the service in the NICU reassured and minimised worry for families, with 100% of parents feeling reassured that their infants were receiving appropriate care.

This in turn helps to improve the bond between parent and baby, reducing separation anxiety for parents and resulting in improved breastmilk expression at home. A 2020 British Medical Journal (BMJ) on the impacts of vCreate reported that “Qualitative responses indicated enhanced emotional closeness, increased involvement in care and a positive effect on breastmilk expression.”

Additionally, the service empowers patient families whilst improving outcomes with additional educational and supportive resources, from advice for NICU parents to tips on taking your baby home from the NICU. 

The service is also available in multiple languages. Families can translate the entire service and all messages with their clinical team to their language of choice, ensuring equity of access and removing translation barriers that would otherwise have a profound impact on families for whom English is not a first language.

If your unit is interested in implementing vCreate in the NICU and looking for funding, your hospital charity might be able to help. Email us if you would like us to send you a fundraising pack.